Gerry Mulligan

Feelin' Good

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Although the presence of a ten-piece string section conducted and arranged by Julian Lee might make some jazz fans assume this Gerry Mulligan date borders on easy listening, that's hardly the case. The strings are used judiciously for color instead of overwhelming the music, while most of the tracks are either classic ballads or overlooked gems written by the likes of Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen ("Not Mine"), Johnny Mercer and Gordon Jenkins ("P.S. I Love You"), and fairly new tunes such as "The Shadow of Your Smile" (co-composed by Johnny Mandel and Paul Francis Webster) and "Feeling Good" (from the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint -- The Smell of the Crowd). In fact, the opener, "That Lonely Night" (recorded previously by Mulligan as "Night Lights," which he co-wrote with his girlfriend, comedienne/actress Judy Holliday), is a relatively rare opportunity to hear Mulligan play clarinet. While pianist Pete Jolly, guitarists Johnny Gray and Jimmy Helms, bassist Jimmy Bond, and drummer Hal Blaine provide more than adequate support, the focus is on the leader's warm, melodic solos. While this long unavailable LP obviously can't be considered among the top tier of his recordings, Mulligan fans will not be disappointed if they can locate copies.

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